The Miami Heat took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals thanks to a tremendous performance by star Jimmy Butler.
The Miami Heat made it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in three seasons. Ironically, they are once again facing the Boston Celtics. Credit can be given to star Jimmy Butler, as he put up two 40 point performances in this NBA Playoff run. That number has now grown to three games.
On Tuesday, May 17, the Heat defeated the Celtics 114-107 behind Butler’s 41 points scored, 27 of which arrived in the second half of the contest.
Twitter users sent out tweets reacting to yet another big performance by Butler.
NBA Twitter reacts to 41-point performance by Jimmy Butler
Butler scored his 41 points while shooting 12-for-19 from the field and 17-for-18 from the free throw line. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Butler recorded his fifth 40-point game while shooting 60-percent from the field, which is tied with Charles Barkley for the third-most in the past 30 postseasons. The only players with more are LeBron James with 12 and Shaquille O’Neal with eight.
Besides the points, Butler had a great all-around performance. He hauled in nine rebounds, dished out five assists, recorded four steals and blocked three shots. Butler finished the game with a plus/minus of +25 in 41 minutes of playing time.
Meanwhile the Celtics announced before the game that they would be without Al Horford, who entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, and Marcus Smart, who is dealing with a right mid-foot sprain suffered in Game 7 of their Conference Semifinals series against the Milwaukee Bucks. They did lessen their deficit late in the game, but the Heat pulled away to clinch the Game 1 win.
Jayson Tatum recorded 29 points (10-for-21 from field), eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. However, he turned the ball over seven times.
Butler and Miami look to take a 2-0 series lead in Game 2, which takes place on Thursday, May 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET.